Celling Your Soul
A film by Joni Siani
We know human communication is at the heart of the human experience. How we interact with one another, how we listen and speak to be heard and understood – and understand others, how perspective is formed, how empathy and compassion is developed – these are the skills that an entire generation missed out on as the first digitally socialized generation.
We have some serious work to do – and we need your help.
Celling Your Soul is the very organic outcome of a teacher/student project. As a result of a Media Literacy assignment involving a “digital cleanse”, a group of college students had the eye-opening experience that “we’re human, we have all the apps we need” and encouraged Media and Communication professor Joni Siani to share what they learned. The film explores how and why since 2007, the first digitally socialized generation has experienced:
- A rise in social and general anxiety
- An increase in depression
- A decline in soft-skills – spontaneously speaking and phone conversation
- An increase in suicide – now the second leading cause of death for the 10 – 24 year old demo experts now link to digital socialization
- A society more divided and bullied by social media abuse
Siani and her students entered their little passion project in film festivals – WINNING several “Best Documentary” awards including the Boston Kids International Film Festival – with a goal of validating the importance of elevating a conversation into a plan of action for social emotional and media literacy education.
Now considered a pioneer in healthy tech initiatives, Siani has dedicated her work in creating media, creative projects, media literacy and social-emotional curriculum for schools and non-profit organizations. “We forget that an entire generation just never had an opportunity to learn, develop and experience the incredible power of authentically engaging.”
Siani has been using all donations and profits from this award-winning film to continue the important work of media and digital literacy to schools and organization, most with little to no budget for such important educational programs.
For those over a certain age, it might not make sense, but, Siani explains “students WANT to build the skills they need to address the unintended consequences of the digital revolution.
“You know, you can actually hear a smile during a phone call!”
“Is sending your face back and forth on Snap Chat with a friend even considered ‘communication’ at all?”
“This coach would never have consoled me during this phone call if he didn’t sense my anxiety for the fall if it was over a text or email.”
During this time of physical distancing and social change, we have an incredible opportunity to build skills – communicate for emotional intimacy – deepen our bond with the important people in our lives – and renew our values of authentic social interaction that will fulfill and last for years to come.
In the years we’ve been offering workshops and film screenings, we have never declined showing up at a school or organization because they didn’t have funding to offer. We’re grateful for the contributions, and hope we can continue our outreach, and research so we can begin work on the next documentary taking a deeper dive into the mental health impact of digital socialization.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Joni SianiSEE MEMBER PROFILE